Outdoor Sauna Safety Tips – How to Stay Safe When Using an Outdoor Sauna

couple standing outside an outdoor sauna

Outdoor saunas hold a mythical allure. They reconnect you with nature and deliver an authentic feel you just don’t get with an indoor sauna. And to get the most from your experience – it’s vital you follow some basic safety tips. Outdoor sauna has several unique safety requirements related to its outdoor setting, its additional installation requirements, and the safe operation of a sauna in an outdoor environment. Below we cover everything you need to know about outdoor sauna safety.

Outdoor Hazards

The key difference between an outdoor sauna and an indoor sauna is the fact that an outdoor device is placed outside. They’re usually placed in a backyard or garden area. This means you need to take care when accessing the sauna.

If placed in an area with poor lighting you should practice caution to avoid trip hazards when making your way to and from the sauna. Especially when it gets dark outside. You’ll also have to brave the elements.

And, if you live in a region that experiences harsh weather conditions you’ll need to factor this in as you make your way to your outdoor sauna. Dressing gowns, winter coats, and flip-flops can help keep you warm and dry while you run the gauntlet outside.

Weather Conditions

outdoor sauna in the snow

You’ll need to pay attention to the weather conditions when using an outdoor sauna. It sounds like basic common sense but you should avoid using your sauna during periods of extreme weather. Thunderstorms, lightning, heavy rain, and strong winds can impact your ability to use an outdoor sauna safely. Our advice is – if the weather is particularly bad, do not use an outdoor sauna.

Outdoor Installation

Outdoor saunas require additional installation work compared to regular indoor saunas. They will be exposed to the elements and most of them need an electrical power supply. Many individuals will install their saunas themselves while others hire a professional to ensure everything has been installed completely and safely before using the sauna.

Outdoor Lighting

Another great outdoor sauna safety tip is outdoor lighting. By adding some lights to your outdoor patio or yard area – you make it much easier to access the sauna safely. Especially in dark winter months and late evenings. This is especially true for people living in regions that experience limited daylight hours as the seasons change.

Avoid Ventilation Obstructions

Many outdoor saunas come with ventilation systems. This involves the placement of a dedicated vent on the cabin structure. It’s vital you position the outdoor sauna in a way that ensures this vent is not blocked. Don’t place it against the wall of another structure or up against trees or a hedgerow. The vent allows air to flow in and out of the cabin structure and plays a key role in outdoor sauna safety.


Manufacturer’s Instructions

Before using an outdoor sauna you should read and follow your manufacturer’s instructions. These are usually found in the sauna’s user manual. You should familiarize yourself with any specific guidelines and safety precautions recommended for your particular sauna model. Every outdoor sauna is different, so spend some time familiarizing yourself with the safe operation of your outdoor sauna.

Medical Advice

Our top tip for outdoor sauna safety is to seek professional medical advice if you have any medical concerns related to using a sauna. Saunas are safe for most people but they are not for everyone. If you have any underlying medical conditions such as heart problems, high or low blood pressure, are pregnant, or have any concerns at all – visit a doctor and seek advice on whether an outdoor sauna is safe for you.

outdoor pod sauna

Regular Inspection

You should regularly check the condition of a sauna. Unlike an indoor sauna, an outdoor sauna is exposed to the elements and can suffer unexpected damage from rain, frost, or strong winds. Then there are wild animals to consider. Rodents, insects, and other little creatures can chew, tear, or decide to nest in your sauna if the opportunity presents itself.

In the interest of good outdoor sauna safety, you should periodically run your eye over the cabin and all its parts to check for any signs of damage. If you notice anything, get it repaired before you begin using the sauna. Catching a problem early makes it much easier to fix.

Safe & Secure Access

If you have children or pets you need to think about securing the sauna so that it cannot be accessed or used without proper adult supervision. This may involve installing a lock or access code on the door. And, keeping the keys out of reach of children. Pets and kids should not be using a sauna as they are especially sensitive to high levels of heat.

Choose a Suitable Temperature

Choosing a suitable temperature is one of the most important aspects of outdoor sauna safety. Every individual is different and you should choose a temperature that works best for you. Most saunas are operated at a temperature of 150-175 degrees Fahrenheit. This works out at 65-80 degrees Celsius.

outdoor sauna in a garden

However, the best advice is to choose a temperature that allows you to enjoy your sauna experience without feeling uncomfortably hot. Beginners should start with a lower temperature while more experienced users will feel more comfortable in a hotter environment.

Don’t Stay In Too Long

You should only stay inside the sauna for as long as feels comfortable. This means you should limit your outdoor sauna session to a duration that works best for you. How long is too long? The answer is different for each individual and depends on a range of factors including your level of sauna experience and how heat sensitive you are.

Experienced sauna users tend to spend 10-20 minutes in a sauna. However, beginners should start low and work their way up slowly if they feel comfortable doing so. Five minutes is a good starting point. Never stay in longer than feels comfortable. And, if you begin to feel too hot you should step outside.  For more see – How Long Should You Stay in a Sauna?

Stay Hydrated

Hydration is key when using any sauna. And, an outdoor sauna is no different. When you spend time in the intense heat of a sauna your body will begin to sweat. This means you lose fluids. And, all fluids lost due to sweat must be replaced as soon as possible. Hydration is one of the most important aspects of outdoor sauna safety. For more, see our guide on – How Much Water Should You Drink in a Sauna?

Avoid Alcohol

It’s best to avoid alcohol when using an outdoor sauna. Alcohol has a dehydrating effect on the body. And, combined with the intense heat of the sauna this can have a significant dehydrating effect. Additionally, alcohol can impair good judgment. And, if you consume a beverage whilst in the sauna there is a greater tendency to stay in too long and suffer the effects of overheating.

Outdoor Sauna Maintenance

man assembling an outdoor sauna

All saunas require regular basic maintenance. But, an outdoor sauna needs a little more TLC thanks to its exposure to the elements. Check your manufacturer’s user manual for specific instructions for your outdoor sauna.

Performing regular maintenance means you’ll get the most from your outdoor sauna and help maximize its lifespan.  And, it’ll help keep you and yours safe when using it.


About the Author


• Senior Editor at Home Sauna Heaven

As a native Swede, Magnus developed a deep fascination with the art of sauna bathing from an early age.  Born and raised in the picturesque landscapes of Småland Sweden, he grew up in a family where sauna was deeply embedded in the community and daily routine.  He graduated from Linnaeus University with a Master of Science in Health Science with a special focus on the “Comparative Analysis of Traditional Saunas vs. Infrared Saunas”.

Moving to the United States in his late twenties, Magnus worked as a health and fitness advisor in a well-known spa and wellness retreat in Malibu California.  Over the next 12 years he became the spa’s leading sauna consultant and mentored colleagues on the benefits and applications of sauna therapy.

In 2019 he relocated to Florida to open his own wellness retreat in the Tampa Bay area.  Here he continues to inspire others with the restorative power of sauna therapy. In 2020, he became senior editor of Home Sauna Heaven where he shares his deep understanding of infrared sauna and offers expert advice on its applications, benefits, and periodic product reviews.

home sauna heaven - company logo